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John Hood (DD-655)

(DD-655: displacement 2,050; length 376 feet 6 inches; beam 39 feet 8 inches; draft 17 feet 9 inches; speed 37 knots: complement 319; armament 5 5-inch guns, 10 40mm, 7 20mm, 6 depth charge projectors, 2 depth charge tracks, 10 21-inch torpedo tubes; class Fletcher)

John Hood was born in Florence, Ala., 3 December 1859. He was appointed to the Naval Academy in 1875, and graduated from the Naval Academy, second in his class. His first cruise after graduation took him to the South Atlantic in Shenandoah, and he later sailed in Wachusetts, Brooklyn, Vandalia, Mohician, Jamestown, Constellation, Bancroft and Kearsarge. Hood was wrecked with Kearsarge 21 February 1894 on Roncador Reef off Central America in the Pacific, and was a lieutenant in Maine when she was blown up at Havana 15 February 1898.

Hood commanded Hawk during the Spanish American War, carried information of the arrival of the Spanish Squadron off Santiago to the commander of the Flying Squadron at' Cienfuegos, and delivered orders for him to proceed to Santiago 23 May 1898. He also served in Nero during the Spanish War. Hood surveyed the Pacific in 1899-1900 to prepare data and charts by which the Pacific cable was laid.

He commanded Elcano in Chinese waters during the Russo-Japanese War from 1903 to 1905 and Tacoma from 1907 to 1909, during Haitian and Central American revolutions and elections. He was in charge of the ships at the Naval Academy in 1909 and 1910. He commanded Rhode Island of the Atlantic Fleet in 1910-11. Under him in 1911-12, Delaware won the battle efficiency pennant. From 1912 to 1915 he was a member of the General Board of the Navy. In 1915-16 he commanded Texas which won the "Red E" for excellence in engineering efficiency.

He was promoted to Rear Admiral August 29, 1916 and retired 18 March 1918. Admiral Hood died at the Naval Hospital, Annapolis, Md., February 11, 1919.

John Hood (DD-655) was laid down 12 October 1942 by Gulf Shipbuilding Corp., Chickasaw, Ala.; launched 25 October 1943; sponsored by Miss Amelia O'Neal; and commissioned 7 June 1944, Comdr. Thomas J. Thronhill in command.

After shakedown in the Caribbean, the new destroyer departed for the Pacific 21 August 1944, arriving Mare Island 6 September. She sailed on to the Aleutian Islands for duty with the North Pacific Forces, arriving Adak 18 September. John Hood joined Destroyer Squadron 57 of Rear Admiral J. L. McCrea's Task Force 92 and served her entire war career in the stormy waters of the North Pacific guarding our vital northern "back door." The principal offensive missions were to harass and threaten the enemy outposts in the Kurile Islands, more than 600 miles westward of Attu. In carrying out this mission, the Task Force made nine sorties against the Kuriles and five offensive sweeps in the Sea of Okhotsk, hampered by bad weather, and well beyond the range of friendly air cover. John Hood was the only ship of the task force which participated in every sortie from reporting through the end of the war.

In November she engaged in the bombardment of the Japanese base on Matasuwa, causing considerable damage to the installation. She continued sorties and patrol operations in the Kuriles through the winter and spring of 1945. While patrolling in the Sea of Okhotsk 25 June 1945, John Hood encountered an enemy convoy attempting last minute reinforcements to the badly battered Japanese garrisons. The destroyer assisted in sinking one cargo ship and probable sinking of another. On 11 August her task group conducted one of the final naval operations of the war by destroying another enemy convoy.

Following the cessation of hostilities, she steamed to Adak to prepare for occupation duties. John Hood departed Adak 31 August with a large force headed for Northern Japan. The battle tested destroyer remained in Northern Japanese waters with the occupations forces until she turned homeward 18 November. She arrived Charleston, S.C., 22 December and remained there until she decommissioned 3 July 1946 and entered the Atlantic Reserve Fleet

John Hood recommissioned 3 August 1951, Comdr. S. P. Gantz in command. Following commissioning she received major modifications to enable her to assume a place in the modern fleet.

John Hood departed Norfolk 29 June for an around-world cruise, including peace-keeping patrols with the 7th Fleet off the coast of Korea. She returned to Norfolk 6 February 1954 for repairs and coastal training operations before sailing 5 November 1955 for Mediterranean duty with the 6th Fleet. Upon returning to Norfolk 26 February 1956, the destroyer received repairs to her storm damaged mast and then trained midshipmen in the summer. During the tense Suez crisis in the fall she sailed with Task Force 26 to Lisbon to be ready for action if needed and returned to the Virginia Capes in December.

Following training exercises along the Atlantic coast, and another 6th Fleet cruise 1957 in the still turbulent Mideastern waters, John Hood commenced training cruises in early 1958. She operated with Fleet Sonar School and engaged in ASW exercises before being transferred to the Reserve Destroyer Squadron at New York 1 October 1959. She continued training reservists until 1 August 1961, when President Kennedy ordered a callup of reservists to bolster the nation's military strength during the Berlin crisis. The American answer to the communist challenge prevented a major conflict; and, as the crisis subsided, John Hood resumed duties as a reserve training destroyer at New York in August 1962.

The warship decommissioned in June 1964, remaining in reserve until stricken from the Navy List on 1 December 1974. She was sold for scrap to Luria Bros. & Co., Inc., Cleveland, Ohio, on 12 April 1976 and removed from Navy custody by the end of that month.

John Hood received one battle star for World War II service.

10 June 2004

Published: Thu Mar 31 10:26:30 EDT 2016